Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which the patient has repeated and uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors that she feels like repeating over and over again. Everyone has something that they like repeating or doing within their daily schedules. Many people like to recheck many things to ensure that they were right. However, people with OCD repeat something so much that it takes much of their time during the day (Bream, 2017). For example, someone may wash hands several times after suspecting that they have contacted something unclean. Even though people with OCD know that they have a problem, many do not know where to seek a professional while others resist it, which leads to more adverse effects of the disorder in their lives.

For a person to be diagnosed with OCD, he/she has to have either compulsions or obsessions or a combination of the two. OCD diagnosis requires that a patient’s compulsions and obsessions are time-consuming and, in this case, they should take around one hour daily (Kohler, 2018). Due to the time that the obsessions and compulsions consume, they may distract the person’s work schedule or other important activities.

People with OCD understand their thoughts (obsessions) and urges (Compulsions do not make sense and are not enjoyable to them but cannot quit. The compulsions and obsessions must also cause major distress as the person may know that they are not true, but he/she cannot stop (Bream, 2017). When they try to stop, they feel so bad that they start with their obsessions and compulsions again. People with OCD may do the things that help them avoid their urges whenever they feel distressed. This way, they are pushed towards other destructive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse.

Everyone has something that he/she repeatedly does, but for people with OCD, the compulsions and obsessions take much of their time and may adversely affect their lives. People with ODC usually have both compulsions and disorders, but some people may exhibit either compulsions or obsessions (Bream, 2017). People with OCD have been put into four main categories depending on their symptoms, and the groups include washers who are patients who are afraid of contamination and end up washing hands than normal. Checkers are the other type of people with OCD who keep rechecking things associated with danger, such as door locks. On the other hand, doubt and sinners are the people who think that if something isn’t done right or perfect, then something terrible will happen, and they will be punished (Hirschtritt, 2017). Counters and arrangers are patients who are obsessed with order and symmetry. Such patients may have superstitions about various numbers, colors, and arrangements.

Even though OCD’s cause OCD is unclear, research has identified some risk factors associated with the disorder. One of the risk factors for OCD is genetics, in which research has indicated that if a person has a first, degree relative who has OCD, then the person is at a higher risk than others of developing the same (Kohler, 2018).  Researchers have posited that the risk is even higher if they develop the disorder as a child or a teen. Brain functioning and structure is another risk factor for OCD. Studies have indicated that the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of OCD patients are different from those of other people. Therefore, there exists a connection between brain structure and functioning and OCD, but the connection is not clear (Hirschtritt, 2017). Research has also attributed some cases of OCD with the environment as a child may get OCD is, he/she suffers trauma. 

Depending on the severity of the condition, OCD is treated with either medications or psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Some medications used in the treatment of OCD include Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), which help reduce the symptoms of OCD. SRIs do not work in some patients in some cases, and they are prescribed antipsychotic medication (Hirschtritt, 2017). Some patients also respond well to psychotherapy, and some suitable therapy options include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). A certain type of CBT is known as Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP), whereby the patient spends much time in situations that cause compulsions. The patient is then prevented from undertaking the resulting compulsions (Kohler, 2018). 

In a nutshell, many people with OCD understand that their obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable, but they cannot stop. Some try to seek help while others do not and risk developing other complicated problems. Depending on their symptoms, OCD patients are classified into washers, doubters or sinners, checkers, and counters or arrangers. Various risk factors are thought to cause OCD, such as genetics, brain functioning, and environmental factors. The treatment of OCD applies either psychotherapy or medication and, in some cases, both. An OCD patient must seek help as the compulsions and obsessions may take up more time, leading the person to perform less in the workplace and school.



Bream, V., Challacombe, F., Palmer, A., & Salkovskis, P. (2017). undefined. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, 1-50. https://doi.org/10.1093/med-psych/9780198703266.003.0001

Hirschtritt, M. E., Bloch, M. H., & Mathews, C. A. (2017). Obsessive-compulsive disorder. JAMA317(13), 1358. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.2200\

Kohler, K. C., Coetzee, B. J., & Lochner, C. (2018). Living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A South African narrative. International Journal of Mental Health Systems12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-018-0253-8